Statues half hidden by rising tides, buildings sunk beneath desert sands, a post-apocalyptic fever dream… Aaron Rice‘s latest LP Neverfade/For Dusk has a ’90s R&B familiarity, mixed with an otherworldly darkness all his own.
The opening notes of “In Time” immediately call to mind scenes from Blade Runner; Harrison Ford running down his list of Voight-Kampff questions, staring into Sean Young’s endless brown eyes. “Ghosttown” is a clear standout, with its computerized backbeat and soaring, catchy vocals. Overall, Rice showcases a tight vision for the record, with a mix of chill tracks and dance beats like “One Week” keeping things interesting. It’s easily a record to get lost inside, each landscape vanishing into the next. Everything is at once familiar and remixed.
Listen to Audiofemme’s exclusive stream of Neverfade/For Dusk and read our interview with Aaron below.
AF: You’re based in Minneapolis. Can you give us an inside look at the music scene there?
AR: The music scene in Minneapolis is very much alive. It’s very much a scene. It’s a big community. It’s a small community. I would also mention I’ve been a little removed from the scene here these past few years so I’m probably not the best person to speak on its behalf. There’s a new wave of young kids doing some really cool stuff.
AF: You recorded this album in Los Angeles. Why the change of scenery?
AR: A couple years ago I moved to LA. One of my best friends and creative partners lives there and I wanted to be closer to him. I also wanted adventure and warmer winters. And though the move was short-lived, that’s where the first big bulk of work on the record started.
AF: Minneapolis is an indoor city much of the year, with underground tunnels and covered walkways connecting buildings. Los Angeles is freeways and ocean and ripe fruit. Did the change in scenery effect your music in tone or subject matter?
AR: Yes, for sure. I took long walks in LA almost every day… even in December and January. I think even that alone had huge effects on my well being and in turn my music as well. Life changes when you don’t have to fight the elements of winter and cold for months on end.
AF: What artists would you cite as influences for Neverfade/For Dusk?
AR: The Knife, Caribou, Sade. TLC. Whoever made the soundtrack for N64’s Wave Race. Asap Rocky/Clams Casino. I’m sure there are more, but those come to mind.
AF: How do you approach writing music? Do you start with a beat, a lyric, subject matter?
AR: All of the above. More often than not it’s the beat or at least some chords, then vocal melodies, then lyrics or subject matter. The feel of the non-lyrical aspects of a song usually help shape the subject matter and lyrics.
AF: Which song from the record is the most personal for you?
AR: That’s tough. They’re all very personal. Probably the first track, “In Time.”
AF: Can you tell us about that song? What was its genesis?
AR: I think the music started when my friend Alex and I were messing around with beats at his apartment. He made the strangest one or two bar, two chord loop, with an even stranger drum pattern. I loved it. We messed around with the chords and built them out to what they are now, and I think it set the tone for the whole project for me. It wasn’t the first track made for the album, but it’s the first one I would always think about when thinking of the album. The lyrics took a long time to write. I had a strong sense of what I wanted them to convey, but nailing down the way to convey them was tricky. I was in a fairly long relationship where I think I always knew I loved the person, but it was after we split that discovered that I was in love with them. The song is about that. It’s a declaration – and that sort of thing has always been hard for me.
AF: What feeling or vibe do you hope to convey at a live show? How do you want people to feel as they leave?
AR: I often think of this music as introspective dance music. It’s not really the kind of music you’d really want to dance to with someone- I guess the hope is that it might bring someone to a place where they can move and sort of dive into themselves. The best or favorite performances I’ve been to are the ones that make me feel, so I keep that in mind when preparing for shows.
Aaron Rice’s debut LP, Neverfade/For Dusk is slated for release on May 10th – follow him on Facebook for the latest updates.